Chapter 8 – Confirmation
At the shack, Doug went in and got a notebook and pen.
“Here,” he said. “You're the official record keeper.”
“I thought this wasn't going to be published?”
“This is just for us.”
We walked around back, and there were twelve rabbit cages, each with one or two gigantic bunnies in them.
“They're huge,” I said.
“Why play around? I can eat for nearly a week on one rabbit.”
We separated a few cages, and I took notes.
Doug spoke as he worked.
“Cage one. Single rabbit. Male. Cage two, two rabbits, female. You can only cage a male and female together for breeding purposes. Then you have to separate them.”
“The phrase 'breeding like rabbits' isn't just related to gestation. Once the female is bred, she'd had enough. The male will just keep at it. Eventually, the female will fight back. They will basically render them impotent by cutting a nerve or tendon or something on the male's genitals.”
“Cage three. Two rabbits. Male. That should be enough.”
We moved them into the cages we had set aside. Doug put his suit on, and told me to stand back. Then he untaped the top of the bottle. He took a handful of rabbit food, held it near the cage, and it came forward. Then he squirted a puff of gas into its nose.
The change was dramatic, and instantaneous. The rabbit began screaming, a sound that was too close to human for my liking. It opened its mouth and hissed, baring its teeth. It leaped forward straight forward at Doug. Right for the jugular, it seemed. If it hadn't been for the cage, I think it would have gotten him. Even then, it tried several times.
I kept thinking about the rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Except this wasn't funny. Not at all.
It didn't give up, but ran around the cage, looking for an exit. When it didn't find one, it tried to chew the metal. Soon, its mouth was bloody, and its teeth were breaking. It didn't seem to feel pain, or have any concern for self-preservation.
“Cage one. Feral,” Doug said, and I remembered the notebook in my hand. I scribbled a few notes, jotting down the date and time, as well.
He repeated the process at the second cage, and infected one of the two rabbits. It reacted much as the first had. But after trying to get at Doug and failing, it turned its attention its cage mate. The second rabbit didn't stand a chance. It was dead in seconds, throat chewed out.
But it didn't stop there. The feral one actually began eating the dead one.
“Cage two. Cannibalistic,” Doug said. He was awfully clinical about the whole thing. I almost puked.
At the third cage, he infected them both. I'm not even sure why. Doug used to fight pitbulls, and I think he just wanted to see a battle royale.
It was a brutal fight, but it didn't last long. In less than thirty seconds, both were a bloody mess, and one was dead. The victor began to feast on the vanquished, until it too died of blood loss.
“Brutal,” Doug said. “I have an idea.”
He opened a fourth cage, grabbed the rabbit that was in it, and put it against the cage of the second, which had become stuffed with meat. It wasn't any less vicious, though.
The infected rabbit rushed forward and bit the untainted one through the wire. The one Doug was holding almost got away, and he threw it back into another cage, like it was on fire, with another unaffected rabbit.
But nothing happened. The rabbit that had been bitten sniffed its wound, and then curled up to sleep. The second curled up next to it in sympathy. It was sort of heart-warming, after what we had just witnessed.
“What do you think?' I asked him.
“I don't know about you, bruh, but my mind is blown. This is like super-rabies. But rabies is biological. And rabbits eating meat? It's off-the-charts crazy.”
“Do you think it's contagious?”
“Too soon to tell. Actual rabies takes a few days. But that might not be an apt comparison. It's just the only thing I can compare it to.”
As soon as he said that, we heard a howl. The newly infected rabbit had killed the other one.
“Well, that answers that,” Doug said. Turning to face me, he said, “You need sleep.”
I nodded. Despite the excitement, I was winding down. I could better ponder the situtation if I had some rest, furthermore. But I was still sort of wired.
“I got what you need.”
He pulled out his pistol from the small of his back, aiming to shoot one of the rabbits, when I stopped him.
“What are you doing?”
“Putting them out of their misery. They're pets. I mean, sure I was going to kill and eat them. But they don't need to suffer.”
“What if it wears off? Could be critical data.”
“Damned good point. But rabies doesn't wear off.”
“This isn't rabies.”
“You're right, of course. Let's get some sleep.”
Inside, Doug pulled out a hollowed-out Bible. He opened a bottle of pills and handed me two small white tablets, which I immediately swallowed.
“Dilauded,” he said. “The crown jewel of pharmaceuticals.”
Then he pulled out a syringe and drew some clear liquid from a bottle.
“I don't do needles,” I told him.
“I just use this to measure the dosage. Open your mouth.”
I did, with some reluctance. He squirted a not unpleasant tasting shot onto my tongue.
“Morphine sulfate, two cee-cees.”
He rolled us each a joint, and we fired them up.
“This is chocolate Thai. Creeper sleeper.”
After a few tokes, I was already getting heavy-lidded.
“So what do you think?” I asked him.
“I need to do more research. I think this is a new chemical. Possibly biological. What I don't think is that this is just a side effect of some petroleum product.”
“Then what is it?”
“If this was just some sort of process gas for industry, we'd have heard about it. I mean, maybe it's new. But your industrial processes are pretty common knowledge. They have gasses that will kill you, ruin your lungs. Chemicals that will give you cancer, or suffocate you. But turn you into an insane cannibal? It couldn't be covered up. Someone would have said something. You know construction workers gossip like women.”
“Maybe no one's been exposed to it in the field.”
“Yeah. Maybe not. But that really supports what I'm sayin'. Covert activity. The line is old. Most industrial hands don't know or care what they're dealing with. So switching the line over to something else could probably be done with very few people knowing what's going on.”
“What's your theory?”
“Like I said, a weapon. Chemical or biological warfare. Think about it. Release it somewhere, maybe overseas, and they kill each other. Then bring in the troops to mop up. Win/win. You've eliminated a bunch of people, and you can justify cracking down, instituting martial law.”
“Kinda like 9/11.”
“Yes. Except...there are a lot of plants overseas. If it's manufactured here, it's for domestic use.”
“You think so?”
“Look. The dollar is going to collapse. In less than a hunnert years, its lost ninety-two percent of its value. That means a dollar is effectively worth eight cents. It can't get much lower. The stock market will crash. The government will fall.”
“Yeah, I think so, too.”
“I think they want to institute civil unrest before it happens. It could be an out for them. A lot of the patriot network have felt that way for years now. They think the feds have been trying to goad them into fighting. They're just too smart to fall for that shit.”
“What 'patriot network'? You don't own a computer or a phone.”
“Ass. We don't trust electronic communication. Only a fool would. The internet was developed by the military. Do you think they just forgot about it after that?”
“No. Of course not.”
“Well, the first thing they probably did with it was to set up monitoring. It's been that way ever since. And now the phone system is just another part of that. So why would we discuss overthrowing them on their own network?”
“It's us or them, cousin. Can I use your truck?”
“You don't even have a license.”
“Fuck a license. Dang, man. Even you're brainwashed. I have natural rights, mobility being one of them. Besides, if I get stopped, that cop's gonna get a snoot full of gas.”
“Be careful,” I said, handing him the keys.
“Oh, fuck off, Nervous Nelly. Get some sleep.”
By the time he left, I was out. I slept for fourteen hours.
I woke up to madness, and the dawn of a new America.